Through exhibitions, programs and partnerships we strive to be an active community resource, connecting contemporary audiences to Esherick’s brilliant creations and the beauty of the everyday.
Current Offsite Exhibition
Wharton Esherick: An Artistic Legacy Through Necessity
January 14, 2020 – April 5, 2020
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
School of Fine Arts Gallery
and Tuttleman Sculpture Gallery
Curated by John Greig
Wharton Esherick: An Artistic Legacy Through Necessity examines how the symbiotic connection of fine and applied arts is as relevant for artists today as it was for Esherick, and how artists have used their fine art training to pursue creative careers in design, fabrication, and related fields.
Wharton Esherick was a leading figure in the American Studio Craft Movement which developed after 1945. These artists used new techniques and non-traditional materials, embraced utilitarian aspects of craft, and produced unique art objects that fused abstract form with function. Wharton Esherick: An Artistic Legacy Through Necessity, explores the productive relationship between applied and fine arts within his work, while placing the artist’s practice in conversation with recent alumni from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Center for Creative Works Residency
In April of 2018, the Wharton Esherick Museum launched a new partnership with the Center for Creative Works, an art studio focusing on developing creative workplace potential and cultural identity for people with intellectual disabilities. During the residency, a dedicated group of artists from CCW are on site weekly to draw inspiration from Esherick’s work through observation, sketching, model-making and discussion. With guidance from furniture makers and woodworking instructors the resident CCW artists refine their designs and techniques at the CCW woodshop and facilities in Wynnewood. Our resident artists in 2019 are focusing on green woodworking techniques, led by CCW’s woodworking instructor Sherina Poorman and guest instructor Nick Flaherty from the University of the Arts.
Philly Touch Tours
With support from the National Endowment for the Arts and other generous funders, the Wharton Esherick Museum has engaged Philly Touch Tours to design, develop and host accessible touch experiences for people with vision loss. Philly Touch Tours LLC, founded in 2015, provides accessibility consulting and touch tour program design for museums and cultural institutions and Disability Awareness and Sensitivity Training for museum and cultural institution staff. Philly Touch Tours will, in collaboration with the Museum, design and facilitate touch tours, provide training for Museum staff and volunteers on leading tours for individuals with vision loss and produce Braille and large print materials. The program aims to inspire curiosity and facilitate a meaningful experience for people with vision loss, while disseminating information about The Wharton Esherick Museum’s history, its collection and its active engagement with the public.
Launched in 2014, CraftNOW Philadelphia unites the leading institutions and artists of Philadelphia’s craft community in a celebration of the city’s rich legacy of craft, its internationally-recognized contemporary craft scene, and its important role as an incubator for arts based in wood, clay, fiber, metal and glass. Through both creating and spotlighting events during the week of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, CraftNOW invites locals and visitors alike to explore Philadelphia’s innovations in the world of the handmade.
The Wharton Esherick Museum is a proud member of the consortium of individuals, galleries, museums, universities, retailers, and civic organizations who participate in CraftNOW each November. For details on CraftNOW events for 2019 visit our event calendar.